The Basics of the Mayan Calendar
The Maya understood 17 different Calendars based on the Cosmos. Some of these calendars go back as far as ten million years and are so difficult that you would need an astronomer, astrologer, geologist, and a mathematician just to work out the calculations. The calendars that are most important to beings of earth are the Haab, the Tun-Uc and the Tzolk'in. The Tzolk'in is the most important and the one with the most influence.


The Haab
is based in the cycles of earth. It has 360 + 5 days, totaling 365 days.
The Haab uses 18 months with 20 days in each month. There is a 19th month called a
Vayeb and uses the 5 extra days. Each month has it's own name/glyph.
Each day uses a sacred sun/glyph.

The Tun-Uc is the moon calendar. It uses 28 day cycles that mirrors the women's moon cycle. This cycle of the moon is broken down into 4 smaller cycles, of 7 day each. These smaller cycles are the four phases of moon cycle. Portal days (p), on the calendar provided marks days using mathematics of 28 and their fore have a connection with the moon cycles.

The Tzolk'in is the Sacred calendar of the Maya and is based on the cycles of the Pleiadies. The cycle of the Pleiadies uses 26,000 years, but is reflected in the calendar we are using by encompassing 260 days. It uses the sacred numbers 13 and 20. The 13 represents the numbers and 20 represents the sun/glyphs. The Tzolk'in has four smaller cycles called seasons of 65 days each guarded by the four suns of Chicchan, Oc, Men and Ahau. There are also Portal days within the Tzolkin that create a double helix pattern using 52 days and the mathematics of 28. This sacred calendar is still being used for divination by the traditional Maya all over the Yucatan, Guatemala, and Belize, and Honduras.

 

The Maya kept time with a combination of several cycles that meshed together to mark
the movement of the Sun, Moon and Venus. Their ritual calendar, known as the
Tzolkin, was composed of 260 days. It pairs the numbers from 1 through 13
with a sequence of the 20 day-names shown below.

 IMIX
ee mesh
waterlily/ world
 IK'
eek'
wind
AK'BAL
ok bol 
night-house
K'AN
k' on 
maize
 CHIKCHAN
cheek chon
snake
 KIMI
kee me
death
MANIK'
ma neek'
 hand
LAMAT
la mot 
Venus
 MULUK'
mul ok'
water
OK
ak 
dog
 CHUEN
chew in
monkey
 EB
eb
tooth
BEN
ben 
reed
IX
eesh 
jaguar
MEN
men 
eagle
KIB
keeb 
soul
   
   
    KABAN
kah bon
earth 
ETZ'NAB
ehts' nob 
flint, knife
KAWAK
kah wok 
storm
AHAW
ah how 
Lord
   

It works something like our days of the week pairing with the numbers of the month. You might have 1-Imix (similar to Sunday the 1st) followed by 2-Ik (just as you would have Monday the 2nd). When you get to 13-Ben, the next day would start the numbers over again, thus 1-Ix, 2-Ben etc. It will take 260 days before the cycle gets back to 1-Imix again (13 x 20). The symbols shown above represent the 20 day-names and are identified with their Yucatec names, pronunciation and approximate translation.

The Tzolkin calendar was meshed with a 365-day solar cycle called the "Haab". The calendar consisted of 18 months with 20 days (numbered 0-19) and a short "month" of only 5 days that was called the Wayeb and was considered to be a dangerous time. It took 52 years for the Tzolkin and Haab calendars to move through a complete cycle. These are the Mayan words for periods of time:


Day = Kin (keen)
Month of 20 days = Uinal (wee nal)
Year of 360 days = Tun (toon)
20 Tuns = K'atun (k' ah toon)
20 K'atuns = Baktun (bock toon)



 

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